Specialist Legal Representation for the Protection against Stalking
ZELLER & SEYFERT has represented several dozen cases in court for victims of stalking by another person. Stalkers often characteristically do not give up and persistently harass the victim. Protection against stalking is explicitly enforced by the Protection Against Violence Act (Gewaltschutzgesetz, GewSchG). Furthermore, victims can also take action against defamation, slander, and insults from the stalker.
On the basis of the Protection Against Violence Act, victims can protect themselves against acts of violence and stalking by the perpetrator and file legal claims against them, particularly in the following situations:
- Injury to the body and/or one’s health caused by a stalker
- Deprivation of freedom by a stalker
- Threats made involving bodily harm and damage to health
- Threats of deprivation of freedom by a stalker
- Unauthorized entry into the home or property of the victim
- Repeated stalking against the explicit will of the victim
- Persecution by using remote means of communication against the victim’s explicit will (e.g., a person continues to send e-mails or text messages even though the recipient has already expressly refused communication)
Urgent enforcement of injunctive claims against the stalker through temporary injunctions by the competent court
The family courts are the responsible legal body for cases involving the protection against violence. This also applies if the stalking does not take place within a family, but you are being stalked by a complete stranger. In particular, we can assist in applying to the competent family court for a temporary injunction on your behalf, according to which the stalker must henceforth refrain from:
- entering your apartment,
- being within a certain radius of your home,
- approaching you (restraining order)
- going to certain places where you regularly spend time (e.g., the stalker may no longer ambush you at your workplace),
- connecting with you, including using remote means of communication (emails, SMS, WhatsApp messages, unwanted phone calls, etc.),
- initiating a meeting with you.
In cases of particular urgency, our attorneys will hastily enforce the claims against the stalker on your behalf by applying for a temporary injunction before the competent family court. Our attorneys will process the request promptly and apply for an injunction on your behalf with the competent family court, posthaste.
Enforcement of all claims against the stalker in court
In summary proceedings, it is usually only possible to temporarily enforce your claims for injunctive relief against the stalker. Of course, our attorneys will also assert other claims against the stalker, particularly for damages, monetary compensation for immaterial damages (compensation for pain and suffering known as “Schmerzensgeld“), and reimbursement of expenses. Currently, the legislature has not provided summary proceedings in the area of stalking for such claims of monetary compensation. Nevertheless, such proceedings on the merits of monetary payment before the competent court are regularly concluded within one year. Our attorneys will also proceed swiftly for you in this respect.
Damage to reputation caused by the stalker
It is not uncommon for stalkers to not only lie in wait for their victims and stalk them. Often stalkers also threaten to spread lies to the whole world about you, intending to negatively affect your reputation and esteem. Stalkers then contact your employer, friends, relatives, and acquaintances, or post any false allegations about you on the Internet that are intended to insult you. The stalker does not want to stop doing this until you agree to meet with them and have contact with them again. Our attorneys will also take legal action for you against these relevant cases of defamation, slander, and insults from the stalker in court.
Violation of your personal data by the stalker
More frequently, stalkers also collect data on their victims in order to make their victims easier to locate. Such instances of spying, collecting, and processing of personal data violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and must be refrained from by the stalker. Furthermore, you are then also entitled to claims for information under data protection law, claims for damages, claims for monetary compensation, and claims for reimbursement of expenses. Our lawyers will also enforce these claims for you against the stalker.
Issuance of warnings to the stalker by specialist attorneys
When appropriate, we will send the stalker a warning letter / cease-and-desist letter on your behalf before the start of legal proceedings and demand that they cease their illegal stalking behavior and issue a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause in your favor. Some stalkers are already intimidated by a lawyer’s warning that they cooperate and refrain from their illegal behavior in the future. The stalker must then reimburse you for the costs of the lawyer’s warning letter.
Reverse situations: defense by a specialist lawyer against warning letters, injunctions, and court actions because you are falsely accused of being a stalker
Our law firm has procedurally represented clients in the opposite situation as well: that someone falsely claims that you are a stalker. In such cases, your good reputation is considerably affected and your general right to privacy is violated. Our attorneys will defend you against the asserted stalking allegations and, conversely, assert your own personal rights claims on your behalf. If the opponent has already served you with a temporary injunction or legal action via court, our attorneys will represent your interests in the ongoing court proceedings and also assert your own claims on your behalf. In particular, our attorneys will examine what prospects of success you have in the specific individual case and how best to proceed legally in your case.
ims and other claims related to the general right of personality are tried in Germany before the regular German civil courts (District Courts and Courts of Appeal). Our attorneys have represented persons and companies who have been defamed or violated in their personality rights before German courts for years. In particular, the following claims are available to a defamed person or company according to German law:
- Injunctive relief against the continued defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company
- Requests for information from the infringer of your personality rights on the nature and extent of the defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company (right to information)
- Claims for damages for the defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company
- Claims for additional monetary compensation in cases of severe impairments of your general right of personality
- Right of reply, revocation, rectification and adjustment in case of defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company when the defamation is based on false or untrue facts
Legal Representation before German Criminal Courts
Defamation, libel, slander and insults regularly constitute a criminal offense according to German criminal law. Also, under certain conditions, the unauthorized manufacture, transmission, distribution and public display of pictures or photographs, in which persons are depicted, constitutes a criminal offense against German criminal law. ZELLER & SEYFERT‘s litigating attorneys will help you to get the offender criminally charged and convicted by the competent German criminal court.
Legal Representation before the Federal German Constitutional Court
The general right of personality is a strong constitutional right in Germany which is enshrined in Articles 1 and 2 of the German Constitution (German Basic Law). If this constitutional right is violated, the Federal German Constitutional Court may hear and decide about the case in the last instance in Germany. ZELLER & SEYFERT‘s litigating attorneys are familiar with the case law of the Federal German Constitutional Court, particularly when the general right of personality is concerned in disputes before the Federal German Constitutional Court. Our attorneys will represent your personality rights, your dignity and your personal interests comprehensively and competently before the Federal German Constitutional Court. They will examine and review your defamation and personality rights case in detail. They will advise you on the course of the proceedings and whether an appeal to the Federal German Constitutional Court has a reasonably good chance of success.
Legal Representation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg
Your general right of personality is not only a constitutional right according to the German Constitution, but also a basic human right according to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights). Under certain conditions it is possible to appeal against the decision of the Federal German Constitutional Court with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Two “Caroline” decisions of the ECHR, one from 2004 (judgment of June 24, 2004, No. 59320/00) and the other one from 2012 (judgments of February 07, 2012, No. 40660/08 and No. 60641/08), have profoundly shaken up the case law of the German courts concerning the proper balance between the protection of the general right of personality on the one hand and the protection of the freedom of the press on the other hand, particularly on the use of personal images and photos in tabloid press photojournalism. Our attorneys are well acquainted with the case law of the ECHR. They will advise you on the course of the proceedings before the ECHR and whether an appeal to the ECHR has a reasonably good chance of success.
Legal Representation in Summary Proceedings (Speedy Trials)
It is usually of particular urgency that violations of your general right of personality are immediately stopped. Also, your right of reply against a defaming newspaper article or media report needs to be swiftly enforced. ZELLER & SEYFERT’s attorneys have years of experience of representing their clients in summary proceedings (speedy trials) before German courts. They are familiar with the peculiarities of summary proceedings before German courts, particularly on stopping violations of the general right of personality of their clients. Our attorneys are easy to talk to and welcome your e-mails and phone calls.
Legal Representation Out of Court
In many defamation cases, initiating a lawsuit in Germany to enforce your general right of personality can be avoided by finding an amicable settlement with the violator of your personality rights out of court. German civil law requires that claimants generally first send a warning letter out of court to the party which is violating your rights. This warning letter requests from the infringer that he shall immediately cease and desist from infringing on your personality rights in the future. The warning letter shall notify the infringer about the illegality of his actions. It shall seek an end to it with an amicable settlement between the parties. Rushing with a defamation, libel or slander case to a German civil court without prior demanding from the infringer to cease and desist from violating your personality rights may otherwise have the consequence that you as the plaintiff have to pay for the fees of the entire lawsuit (court fees and attorney fees of both sides), even if you subsequently win the entire lawsuit.
Defending Clients against Defamation Claims of others
Our attorneys will also represent you or your company in the reverse situation: If somebody in Germany claims that you have violated his general right of personality, e.g. by allegedly defaming him, a quick response by a German attorney is generally advisable. If you have already been served with court documents from a German court or court documents have been served to you otherwise, the situation is usually urgent. German courts regularly set deadlines which you would have to meet in order to avoid negative legal consequences.
Litigation in defamation and personality law cases in Germany is our attorneys’ forte. Our attorneys will hatch out a defense strategy against the defamation claims which have been put forward against you here in Germany. For more information, please contact us. Our attorneys are easy to talk to and welcome your e-mails and phone calls.